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Citizen Gina

U.K. comedienne stretches in longer showcase in Montreal

British import Gina Yashere, given her own hour showcase at the Just For Laughs Montreal Comedy Festival, started slowly, with the first quarter of her act seemingly reliant on jokes with rather predictable twists, but as her show July 25 proceeded, it became more original and grew on an audience.

Yashere is at heart a storyteller, and her best moments came when she went into longer pieces, like a story of going back to Nigeria where her parents came from, casting herself as bumbling her way through the corruption in airport customs, expecting she could escape paying bribes out of sheer confidence, and of course falling short.

Performing in Montreal, and being from the UK, she also had fun with the topic of health care, describing getting injured while in the US, and claiming, If I lost my leg, it would be cheaper to get on British Airways back home with one seat for me and one seat for my leg. [speaking to flight attendant], Ill have a soda and my leg will have a lot of ice.

While Yashere told it well, a long piece in her performance concerning getting colonics was more nausea-inducing than entertaining, and really was the only poor choice subject-wise.

Yashere keeps a slow, casual pace on stage, punctuating it with animation at times, as in a bit about the differences between African-Americans and black people from the rest of the world. I dont like rap, she says, launching into a torrential cascade of misogynistic profanity, mimicking rappers, with nothing but the various words.

She also got some local color, having a long interaction in the middle of the show with Arnie, a loquacious audience member dressed very eccentrically in a silver top hat and see through shirt, eventually letting him join her on stage where she ripped his sense of style, or lack thereof, quite well.

Yashere is definitely an original talent as a comedian. Although she may not immediately seize an audience, given a full hour she definitely gets one on her side, and has the material and performing skills to keep you there.

Just For Laughs -- Montreal Comedy Festival coverage sponsored by

Eric & LaNita Hazard; Irving & Sonya Rozansky.




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